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Inspiration in Buttermere, climbing Haystacks

Day 4 of my Lake District trip

Homeward bound today, the weather forecast looked unpredictable. Deciding to take the longer pretty route I thought I’d wind my way through the Lakes on my way back to York.

The road took me past Loweswater again, then onto Crummock Water and Buttermere. Then the sun came out. With the water mill pond flat, it reflected the beautiful mountainside landscape and ever changing light. It’s time like this that I soooooo want to be on my bike. Driving on your own is torture when you can’t just stop and admire the view.

I’m forever indecisive and was torn between an easy walk around Buttermere or a more challenging one up to Haystacks.

Deciding to make the most of what turned out to be a mostly dry day in the Lakes, I settled on Haystacks. I say that, I set off, then about three times nearly turned back. Climbing a mountain is not something I’ve done on my own before, so it was a little out of my comfort zone. As my friend Helen will tell you I’m/we’re not known for our map reading skills. I’d got a paper map, Pathfinder walking book description, Garmin GPS with OS mapping and all the rest of the just in case supplies. I’ll be fine!

Well, I was kind of fine. I could tell I was very slightly off route. I seemed to be following what was probably a sheep trail but amongst all the rocks I couldn’t for the life of me find the footpath I was supposed to be on. So it was a wee bit of a scramble for the final climb to the top.

To say I was relived to reach the top and see other people was an understatement!

On top of Haystacks I was greeted with views of mountain tops all around.

A friend had described the top as being like a Japanese garden. Tarns punctuate the landscape, surrounded by rugged rocks covered in heathers and other vegetation. They weren't wrong, it felt like another world.

Then came my challenge, finding the path down. There’s a criss cross of paths leading to views and different routes. I must have gone round in similar circles three times before finally finding right the path down!

On my way down to Buttermere rain threatened. There’s something about the quality of light before rain that brings colours to life. A huge field of vivid blue bluebells contrasted against the bright green fields and steely blue lake.

So a huge sense of achievement on first and probably last adventure up a mountain on my own. Hopefully next time I’ll have company!

The walk was about 6.5miles with my detours and taken from the green Pathfinder Guide - Lake District Walks.

Read day 2 of my Cumbria blog and walk along St Bees Head in my St Bees blog.

Read day 3 of my Cumbria blog with a walk around Ennerdale Water and a cycle ride around Ennerdale and Loweswater Ennerdale blog.


About the author

Michelle Hughes is a North Yorkshire landscape artist. Much of her work depicts the Yorkshire landscape and Yorkshire coast, including the Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors.

Michelle loves exploring the British countryside by bike or on foot, camera in hand, capturing ideas for her next linocut prints. Back in her garden studio, Michelle creates simple but stylised silhouettes based on her photographs, and hand carves these shapes into lino. She hand prints with an etching press, using oil-based inks to create tonal blocks of colour.

Michelle’s original linocut prints are limited editions.

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